Louisiana prepares for curriculum overhaul

School districts statewide are preparing for a revamp of what will be expected of students, but a leading education expert says the move is not in the best interest of children.

This fall, Louisiana will be one of 46 states to use Common Core State Standards. The standards, which outline student skills and abilities for each grade level, are part of a state-led effort designed to better prepare students for college and careers.

With one-third of students performing below grade level in Louisiana and more than 30 percent failing to graduate from high school, Superintendent of Education John White said it’s necessary to find a better way to prepare the state’s students for the world they will be entering.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the past few years, but by no means are we where we want to be,” White said. “Common Core is a way for us to adopt standards to make our students competitive in a global world and to build on the progress we are already making.”

Critics of the Common Core say it instead will result in students who are less prepared when they enter college than before the standard was put in place. Louisiana’s current standards are doing a better job, said Sandra Stotsky, who served on the Common Core Validation Committee.

“State boards of education were sold this powerful elixir with the promise of closing achievement gaps and instead they have been given nothing more than snake oil,” said Stotsky, who gained headlines in 2010 when she refused to sign off on the curriculum, calling it mediocre and a step back for many states.

“We’re lowering the ceiling for everyone rather than actually raising standards,” Stotsky said.

White said he remains confident Louisiana’s students will see gains and be better prepared for the world around them because of the exceptional teachers.

“In the end, as is the case for Louisiana or any other state, the standards are words on paper,” he said. “It still takes a quality teacher in the classroom to make students great, and that isn’t limited by any set of standards.”

Louisiana prepares for curriculum overhaul | Shreveporttimes | shreveporttimes.com.

Jimmy Kilpatrick, a national recognized professional special education advocate since 1994.

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